Ambitious plans for new leisure centre at the lakes

Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.
Craigavon Lakes and Civic Centre. INPT24-300.

An exciting ‘Aqua Park’ – based on the popular facility at Hudson Bay Hotel at Lough Ree in County Westmeath – is the latest innovation in the borough council’s proposed £30m leisure centre at the city lakes.

The facility, with trampolines, climbing frames and other facilities – a play park totally afloat – was the main talking point on Monday night when the architects McAdam Design met with the council to give them a full briefing.

The secret in-committee session lasted two hours, and Craigavon Borough Council gave it “the nod” in principle before the project moves on the next stage. It will be passed on within the next few weeks to the new ABC Council which will have the final say whether the state-of-the-art centre goes ahead.

Work is due to start within the next couple of years, and it is certain that ABC will give it the green light, although there may be changes and adjustments in design. When it is completed, Cascades in Portadown, Waves in Lurgan and Craigavon Leisure Centre will all close.

The Aqua Park facility will link up between the new leisure centre, which will have a number of water-based facilities, and the popular lakes water centre. It will, of course, be a summer facility, but the equipment can easily be dismantled parts of it erected in the indoor water play area proposed for the centre.

One councillor said, “Hudson Bay Hotel has a video on-line of its Aqua Park on Lough Ree and it’s tremendous. The kids obviously love it, and we’re convinced it could be a real winner here.”

The main facilities within the centre are the 50-metre swimming pool, the integrated water play facility, a major sports hall, the multi-gym – where there will now be 200 pieces of equipment – and the possibility of a climbing wall.

Said the councillor, “The design is very clever and flexible. Leisure keeps evolving over the years and the design has been done in such a way that new leisure facilities can be added as the years go by. It’s very impressive.”